On the way to Tauranga, the previous week, I spotted a nice little town called Waihi. This town developed as a gold mining area during the Victorian era, with activity continuing to this day. It is quite sleepy and old-fashioned, with lots of colonial-era wooden houses and shops. It also boasts a number of tourist attractions such as the Goldfields Railway and the stunning Karangahake Gorge. I had to go whilst I was still in the North Island!
I used my digital SLR, a Nikon D5200 coupled with a Nikon 35mm f/2 and Sigma 10-20mm f/4; as my film SLR was at the camera shop having its light seals replaced!
The Goldfields Railway
This pleasant, short journey follows the river and road down the valley into Waikino. The train was quaint and featured traditional enclosed wooden carriages and an open saloon! As it was a nice day I opted to stand outside.
The locomotive gets ready to couple to the train.
A very 'Kiwi' station building - all wooden!
Getting up close and personal with the Kiwi cows! Thankfully there is a fence to keep them off the line!
It's times like this that having such a wide angle lens comes in handy.
I love the Anglosphere flags.
I can't get enough of New Zealand's trees.
Again, the station at Waikino is wooden. Originally Waikino only had a holt, the station building was moved here more recently from Paeroa when the line was preserved.
As the train is running around, you can see the wooden carriages.
The Hauraki Rail trail follows an old rail line and makes use of many old rail bridges such as this one.
The Victoria Battery
This battery was built in 1896 to extract gold out of quartz. It was once Australasia's largest crushing plant. It originally used an incredibly energy-intensive process, burning two acres of wood a day! It was largely demolished in 1955 and little more than the concrete foundations and some metal elements remain. The site is open 24 hours a day, but at certain times there is a museum which features guided tours to otherwise inaccessible locations and tram rides.
The pictures have come out very sharp and vivid!
This is the museum.
Time to blow off the cobwebs!
Rusty and crusty!
These pretty suspension bridges appear all of the way down the gorge.
These falls were pretty, with a nice looking pool at the bottom. As it was such a hot day, it would be rude to turn down the opportunity for a dip!
You can see more falls, further upstream.
Walking down the Karangahake Gorge on the Hauraki Rail Trail
The Crown Mines, Karangahake
Waihi has a very colonial feel to it in terms of architecture. It is great that the old-fashioned style has been retained when many places in New Zealand have modernised.
The New Zealand flags were up because it was the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
The Cornish Pumphouse
In use between 1903 and 1913, this pumphouse was built to pump water out of the historic underground 'Martha' mine by using steam power. This old mine shut in 1953, and by 2005 the listed building was in danger of collapse. By 2006, the building had been moved, by using the guide rails seen on the second picture, and slowly moving it.
As can be seen, the weather had deteriorated by my second day in Waihi!
The Martha Mine
This mine is on the edge of town. It doesn't have too long left as it is almost exhausted and cannot go much deeper. It is also currently out-of-action due to a landslide.
This image is distorted, because it is four seperate images stitched together.
The Cornish Pumphouse is visible on the top-left.
A drawing for peace by local children, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Armistice.
Poppies for every Waihi man that served in World War One.
The more modern mine, just outside town
I went on a tour of the gold mines, this mine is not normally visible to the public! I would highly recommend both the tour and the museum, located opposite the Cornish Pump House.
These ball bearings are used to crush up the iron ore.
These lakes neutralise a waste product with UV - and are sealed to stop leakage into the water table.
The ball bearings are used in the cylinder to break down the ore.
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